February 13, 2003 at 9:19 PM CST - Updated August 27 at 3:06 AM
When a sudden heart attack revealed to computer expert Robert Lauer he needed bypass surgery, he became worried.
"I have a lot of customers that are dependent on me."
Lauer was afraid the operation could hurt his ability to think clearly and work with complex computer technology. To combat the risks of brain injury, doctors used a device called the cobra cannula during surgery.
"This device will probably address the major causes of brain injury in cardiac surgery patients."
Doctor David Cook and his colleagues are studying the Cobra Cannula.
The Cobra Cannula combats brain injury in two ways. first, cooling blood flowing to the brain helps protect it from damage, and second, the device can prevent particles of fat, cholesterol and air from flowing into the brain and causing a stroke.
Lauer says thanks to the new procedure he is mentally fit and grateful to be back to work.